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The Natural History of Carolina…

Artist/Maker:
Catesby, Mark
Place Made:
London Great Britain
Date Made:
1771
Medium:
leather, paper, ink
Dimensions:
LOA: 21 1/4; WOA: 14 1/2
Accession Number:
1012.1 a
Description:
First volume of Mark Catesby’s (1683-1749) two-volume “Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands.” The first edition of the first volume appeared in 1731; the second volume of the first edition appeared in 1743. Catesby’s work went through two editions in the eighteenth century and was again published in the nineteenth century. MESDA’s copy is a hybrid of second-edition text (published in 1771) with third-edition (printed in 1815) prints.

Catesby traveled extensively in Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, and Caribbean collecting specimens for his work. He is notable for being one of the first naturalists to show species interacting with each other. The majority of the fauna are shown with their related flora. Short on funds, Catesby learned to engrave his own copper plates to keep publications costs low. His initials, “MC” can be seen on some of the plates. For especially important specimens, like the magnolia, he paid a professional engraver.

Catesby remains one of the most important naturalists to work in early America.

Credit Line:
Anonymous Gift